Living Legend: (Noun) An extremely famous or notorious living person, especially in a particular field.
Living legend is an understatement when it pertains to actor/comedian/musician Garrett Morris. His talent & longevity speaks for itself & couldn’t BE denied even if we tried. Whether he was your favorite on SNL, or you enjoyed him at “Stan” on the hit show Martin, or you prefer him as “Earl” on his current CBS hit show 2 Broke Girls, he’s always made himself memorable & leaves you wanting more…and that doesn’t even mention his stand up comedy, not his recent album Black Creole Chronicles, which is just as entertaining as any of the previous roles he’s played.
Looking back, it’s evident that Morris helped break the Hollywood standard and barriers, and added some much needed “color” to television very early off. He was a part of the original cast & the 1st black comedian on Saturday Night Live, which is one of the longest running shows to date, paving the way for up and coming comedic actors like Eddie Murphy and Kenan Thompson. Morris is a visionary, who’s hard work and persistence never let up. He had a goal and let nothing come BEtween him living out his dreams, even in the midst of hurt & tragedy…many don’t know that Morris was almost killed by 2 men on the street, and we got to see some of the aftermath play out on Martin.
BE Magazine: Of course I have to start off with discussing the longevity that your career has BEen blessed with. You’ve really seen the times change huh?
Garrett Morris: I’ve really seen the times change. Looking at this year’s Oscars really proves that. Look at the woman who took home the crown. She’s BEautiful both inside and out & she’s a sister. I started acting way back in the day, and have really seen things come full circle. I hate to discuss “color” or “race” but there’s really no way around it. Back in the day, they didn’t BElieve in more diversified industry. There should have BEen all kinds of movies, with all different kinds of faces, with all different types of cultural stories BEing told. And not necessarily with us BEing excited by the fact that we have 4 or 5 black people. Back then they didn’t BElieve that diversified films would make any money. Same thing with TV. It’s amazing to me that the chair that I started has only spun two guys. You still don’t really see Latin, Asian, or North African on Saturday Night Live. There ought to BE an appeal for diversity, especially since we know who watched these shows too. We know that non-whites in general check that show out. I’ve seen black actors go from cameos to major roles.
BE: The ball hasn’t stopped with just comedy and acting; I hear you also have a CD out. Is that true?
Morris: A friend of mine, a jazz musician by the name of Billy Mitchell, assisted with the CD. He’s a brilliant pianist and arranger. I’m also an arranger. My 1st job was with Harry BElefonte. So I’m a composer myself, even though I don’t play any instruments outside of the voice, but I do have a little piano experience…enough to get my stuff out. Mitchell really helped me to get my music on CD and helped arrange some stuff for me, and that was just one song. He found out that I composed and said let’s do some more. I have about 4 songs that I wrote, and one by a man named Deacon Jones, who plays down at my club. I own a comedy club down in South Central called L.A. Blues Comedy. I also have a song on there by RoBErt Johnson, who’s really the man BEhind Rock & Roll, way BEfore Ike Turner, Little Richard & Chuck BErry. I also have Muddy Waters on there; he’s my favorite blues singer of all times. The album is called Black Creole Chronicles and can BE ordered on my website www.blackcreolechronicles.com. You can either buy just one song or the entire album. You can also get the album on CD baby. The album can either BE downloaded, or sent to your home. I plan on going down to my hometown and selling them at the Jazz Festival; I don’t know if it’s political or not, but I’m going to go down there & knock on some doors & talk to some people. I ain’t kissing no ass unless…ok (laughs).
BE: Do you find it very different going home to New Orleans post Katrina?
GM: Oh yeah. Even now, 9 years later, parts of New Orleans still looks like BEirut. East 9th Ward still isn’t repaired yet. I had family that had to move to Atlanta after that. New Orleans is definitely quite different than when I was a kid. When I was kid, it was totally segregated, so when I left in ’58, I swore I would never return again. Back then all you could do in New Orleans was perform 2 weeks out of the year at a theater that allowed a black production to come perform. And even then, it’d BE a bunch of white people, and just one black performer.
BE: How often do you get home to New Orleans?
Morris: I actually get down there twice a year & I get to hang with Cheryl Nevell. She’s the younger neice in the Nevell family. She does a Monday night at Snug Harbor. If anyone’s ever in town on a Monday & they get over there, they may just look up and see me. Going home is something I always enjoy. This year when I go for my normal visit, I’ll BE doing part pleasure and part business, trying to really get my CD out there.
BE: Of course, I can’t let you go without bringing up your current show 2 Broke Girls
GM: First of all, I think those two girls Kat & BEth are two fine looking foxes. (laughs). I’m old enough to BE there grandfather, but hey. And I say this to their faces, they are two good looking ladies. Put that aside, they are two of the most talented and hard working women I have ever worked with & that’s hands down. I’m a guy who’s usually eary to work, and I can’t BEat BEth to work. She’s at work when the rooster crows. (laughs). I’ve seen them do stuff with memorization that’s out of this world. The funny part is, all that talk about them BEing attractive, they don’t go for that. They go for people knowing how talented they are, and I love that. They really work moment to moment. It’s the BEst reason to watch the show. You can really see the passion and talent that everyone possesses.
You can currently catch Garrett Morris as Earl on the CBS hit comedy 2 Broke Girls, which was renewed for a 4th season in March 2014.
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